Is Costco’s Canned Cold Brew a Total Dud? (Full Review)

Kirkland Signature Columbian Cold Brew Coffee

Is Costco’s Canned Cold Brew a Total Dud? (Full Review)

Costco sells cans of cold brew under its Kirkland Signature, and like many items at Costco, the price is irresistible. Cases of 12 normally sell for $18.99, but I've picked them up on sale for $14.99. That's quite a bit cheaper than other canned cold brew options.

And yet, there's a good chance you'll absolutely hate this cold brew. Let's dive into why Costco's Columbian Cold Brew Coffee is so divisive and whether you'd actually enjoy the flavor.

Why Kirkland Signature Cold Brew is So Divisive

Roasted coffee beans in burlap. Rustic vintage concept
Both the origin and preparation of coffee beans can lead to significant flavor differences

©Xeniia X/Shutterstock.com

If you've ever tried single-origin coffees from across the world, you've seen just how different coffee can taste. Coffee beans from some environments like Yemen are famous for being rich and chocolatey, while other countries like Congo are generally more acidic.

When ordering single-origin coffee, I've often found myself looking for coffee from Sumatra, for example. It's a creamier coffee that's low on acidity.

The preparation of coffee is also important in determining its flavor. Cold brew coffee utilizes a longer brewing time that reduces acidity. In fact, scientific studies have found cold brew coffee has about 70% lower acid levels compared to hot coffee.

This is all just to say that people who drink cold brew generally drink it because they enjoy the lower acidity in it. This is why Kirkland Signature Cold Brew is so divisive. Simply put, it has a much more acidic flavor than other cold brews on the market.

Another factor I've found in my tastings is beyond acidity, the flavor is just extremely unique. I don't know if “smoky” is the right word, but the flavor is fairly intense. Let's just leave it as being quite bold.

Now, it's worth noting that Costco's Cold Brew isn't universally derided. While most discussions on social media around it have been generally negative, it does have its fans. My personal advice if you've purchased it and don't love the flavor is to put it over ice, that helps cut down the aggressiveness of the flavor.

Just be warned: if you purchase this product it is more bitter and acidic than other cold brews on the market. If you purchase cold brew because you enjoy lower acidity, you will want to try a different brand.

Alternative to Kirkland Signature Cold Brew

Starbucks Cold Brew
If you prefer a sweeter option, Starbucks Cold Brew Concentrate is worth a try

©MomsWhoThink /Eric Bleeker

Costco sells other coffee products that could be a better alternative if you're not a fan of Kirkland Signature's Cold Brew:

  • Illy Cold Brew: My local Costco doesn't carry this product, but I can order it through Costco's website. Illy Cold Brew is significantly less bitter and will be received well by most cold brew drinkers. The only downside is that a 12-pack costs $29.99, which is double the price I've seen Kirkland Signature Cold Brew selling for when on sale.
  • La Colombe Cold Brew: La Colombe comes out of the can frothy and has a cult following. I personally enjoy the cans, but they do come with some downsides. First, the packs come in three flavors (triple draft latte, mocha draft latte, vanilla draft latte), so if you don't enjoy any of the flavors you're stuck with them. Second, it's a sweeter product that has 100 calories per can. I enjoy other cold brew options because I'm trying to avoid added calories. You can get La Columbe cans in packs of 12 for $21.99 at Costco, but I have seen them on sale as well.

Beyond canned options, another packaged cold brew option is containers that are generally sold in 40 to 64 ounces. Once you open them, you'll want to drink them within two weeks, but if you're a big coffee drinker that shouldn't be a problem.

I recently reviewed Starbucks' Cold Brew Concentrate and found the flavor to be surprisingly sweet. Another option is bottled cold brew from La Colombe, which I've found to taste excellent.

Facts on Kirkland Signature Columbian Cold Brew Coffee

Nutritional Information for Kirkland Signature Cold Brew
Costco's Cold Brew has just 15 calories per can

©MomsWhoThink /Eric Bleeker

  • Size Per Can: 11 ounces (325 ml)
  • Caffeine Per Can: 225 mg (2.3 cups of coffee)
  • Origin: Columbia
  • Manufactured By: Berner Food & Beverages
  • Flavor: Bold
  • Price: $18.99 per 12-pack (often on sale for $14.99)
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